“There is no black Navy, no white Navy – Just one Navy- the United States Navy.”
-Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, 1970
The U.S. Navy prides itself on unity- our ability to fight, learn and strive as one cohesive unit. Unity is one of the most valuable tools in our military arsenal, but so is diversity.
Diversity is the knowledge, skills and mannerisms that we each bring from our respective backgrounds. It allows us to see with unhindered vision and a fresh perspective.
Each time new Sailors check on board, they bring with him this original thought process, nuance or vision. Years after the Sailor has departed their ship, their individual stamp is still etched into the bulkheads to remain part of its structure for eternity.
As a collective society, the U.S. and her Navy have thrived off of these individual characteristics and championed their accomplishments as our collective victory. We have built each new layer of success atop a previous layer; a new generation that sees the successes – and failures – of the previous, and uses that to improve the outcome of the next.
Some may believe that with this collective thought and achievement that there is a loss of identity, a loss of individual culture or a loss of the traces of strife that makes us so different.
That notion couldn’t be more wrong.
This is the reason we celebrate our histories. This is a time to reflect on what we have achieved – as individuals and collectively. This is what has allowed us to succeed as a Navy, as a country, and as a people.
As we celebrate African American History Month, we honor those who paved the road- though rocky it may have been- to the unified nation we are able to appreciate today.
Click here for a look into the individuals who shaped our country and our navy.
Story by MC3(SW) Andrew Price